Germany Forcibly Expels Suicidal Woman to Belgrade
16 August 2006
Husband Committed Suicide in 2002
Deportation Implemented Despite ERRC Appeal
Budapest, Berlin: Ignoring a direct appeal to stay expulsion as well as compelling evidence concerning her extreme psychological state, Berlin authorities today forcibly expelled a Muslim Romani woman and her four children to Serbia.
The ERRC received information on 14 August from the Berlin-based non-governmental organization Initiative Against Expulsion Detention (Initiative gegen Abschiebehaft) concerning the planned forced expulsion from Germany of Ms. K.T. and her five children, aged 7-16 years. The family are Muslim Romani, a particularly threatened group in predominantly Christian Serbia. Ms. K.T.'s husband – the father of her five children -- committed suicide by hanging in 2002 out of fear of expulsion from Germany. Ms. K.T. has raised her children alone since then.
Ms. K.T. reportedly has severe psychological problems for which she has undergone psychological treatment for years in Berlin. According to her psychologist, she is extremely unstable. In situations of stress, she develops attacks of hyperventilation, and experiences convulsions of her hands, arms, feet and legs. Moreover she has reported that she has a mental image her dead husband hanging in front of her eyes and that she thinks constantly of how to commit suicide herself. In addition, Ms. K.T.'s 16-year-old daughter L.T. has told her mother's therapist that she herself thought continuously of her dead father, and that her main fear was that her mother would also commit suicide. Ms. K.T. has been hospitalized in Berlin on several occasions due to her psychological illness, most recently from 22 to 28 June 2006.
The Berlin court reviewing Ms. K.T.'s appeals to be allowed to remain in Germany with her children refused to recognize her psychological illness, despite the testimony of medical professionals to the effect that her condition is very serious.
In a letter faxed to Berlin Interior Minister Dr. Ehrhart Körting on 15 August, the ERRC urged Senator Körting to:
(1) Intervene to stop the forced expulsion of Ms. K.T. and her children from Germany; and
(2) Ensure that, without delay, they are provided with a residence permit securing durable and long-term stay in Germany, such that she may seek and receive treatment for her condition without the further arbitrary application of undue pressure.
The ERRC noted that forcibly expelling Ms. K.T. would be cruel and degrading, and would therefore contravene Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and related international law provisions by which Germany is bound..
The ERRC noted that if expelled to Serbia, Ms. K.T. would have extremely limited or no access at all to medical and psychological treatment needed to address her psychological condition, and if she were able to avail herself of such treatment at all, it would be of a standard inadequate to address her condition.
The ERRC further noted that Ms. K.T. would also face extreme exclusion based on the compounded effects of being Romani and Muslim in Serbia, and may in addition be exposed to physical attack as a result of her ethnicity and/or religion.
The ERRC requested to be availed of any and all actions undertaken by Senator Körting in this regard.
On 16 August, flagrantly disregarding the ERRC appeal, German authorities forcibly expelled Ms. K.T. and her children to Belgrade.
Persons wishing to express disgust at the expulsion are urged to contact:
Senator für Inneres Dr. Ehrhart Körting
Minister of Interior for Berlin
Fax: (030) 9027-2715
Further information on Germany's policies and practices preventing the integration of dark-skinned foreigners, as well as on serial and systemic expulsions of Roma to a number of countries, including in particular Serbia and Montenegro, is available at: http://www.errc.org/uploads/upload_en/file/01/08/m00000108.pdf.
- "K.T." and "L.T." are not the real initials of the persons concerned. The ERRC is in possession of the names and contact information of the persons concerned. The ERRC would be prepared to release these if the interests of justice so require.
- The Interior Minister of Berlin is addressed by the honorific title "Senator".